UK and Ireland under water as Storm “Desmond” sets new all-time UK rainfall record


Storm "Desmond" heavily battered parts of UK and Ireland with extreme rainfall and strong winds on December 4 and 5, 2015. The storm wreaked havoc across the affected areas with devastating, life-threatening flood as the amount of received rainfall set a new all-time UK record.

Extremely dangerous "Storm "Desmond", UK MetOffice's fourth named storm of the 2015/16 winter season brought torrential downpours and severe winds as it battered parts of UK and Ireland, causing extensive damage.

Video credit: Euronews

341.4 mm (13.4 inches) of rainfall accumulated in a 24 hour period in Honister, Cumbria and set a new all-time UK record, according to the Environment Agency. The water level of the River Eden in Carlisle recorded 7.9 meters (25.9 feet), Floodlist reported.

Thousands of people were forced to evacuate their homes, and two deaths were reported so far. One man drowned after falling into the overflowing River Kent, Cumbria Police stated on December 7, while another one was blown into the side of a moving bus by severe wind gust in north London.

Video credit: Met Office

The county of Cumbria, northwest England suffered the hardest strike and a major incident status was declared by the local authorities. British Army deployed 350 people to aid the rescue teams already on grounds. 8 aid center have been setup to provide shelters for the affected population. A crisis response meeting (COBRA) has been set up to coordinate government actions in response to the flooding, according to David Cameron, British Prime Minister.

"The thoughts of the country are with the people in Cumbria and the NW hit by flooding. The Government is doing everything it can to help them," Cameron tweeted, following the event.

Official authorities have issued warnings for people to remain indoors if possible and as far away from flood waters as possible. Local schools remained closed throughout the affected areas.

60 000 households in the Lancashire and Cumbria experienced power cutoffs on December 6 and numerous towns reported water supplies cutoffs,as well.

3 bridges have been completely washed away in the Cumbria county, while another 14 reported damage and closure. The main railway, connecting London and Glasgow was overflown by flooding waters in Carlisle and parts of Cumbria and train services were suspended between Preston and Carlisle until late December 7.

Video credit: Video News 101 via YouTube

The Cumbria county has been known to experience severe flooding before. The events of 2005 and 2009 prompted development of flood defense systems during recent years.

"Flood defenses protected 8,600 homes across the north of England and, in thousands of other instances, provided vital time for homes and businesses to be evacuated as well as reducing the impact. However, unprecedented rain and river levels mean we have seen water overtopping defenses in places,"Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said about current flooding situation.

Hawick town in southern Scotland was also severely affected by the storm, as the River Teviot overflew its borders and caused several families to evacuate their homes. In Northern Ireland, more than 20 people were rescued by emergency services, and the counties Tyrone, Londonderry and Fermanagh suffered the hardest hit.

Parts of Ireland also experienced severe flooding, road closure and power cutoffs. Bandon in County Cork, Craughwell in County Galway and Tralee in County Kerry were hit the hardest, according to the local media. Many areas have experienced an average month's worth of rainfall.

The currently prevailing weather across the northwest England, southwest Scotland and portions of Northern Ireland still doesn't look optimistic, however it does seem the worst of the storm is over. The UK Met Office places a yellow weather warning for persistent rain in place for the rest of the week.

More persistent rainfall, although not nearly as heavy as during the weekend, could still pose flood risk to already affected regions, as the rivers might overflow again. The residents should therefore be aware of the current situation and remain cautious. 

46 severe flood warnings across England and Wales, in particular in ares of northwest England, Carlisle, Cockermouth and Keswick have been put in place, as of December 7. 38 flood warnings and 39 flood alerts are effective, as well.

Featured image: Severe flood damage in Cumbria drone footage, UK, December 7, 2015. Image credit: Euronews

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